Myanmar frees 8,500+ prisoners, but still denies true democracy

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

While it's a start towards something that looks a little better - even if just a little - the Myanmar junta are still denying Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy a place in the new government reform plans, even as they free thousands of prisoners.

The Associated Press

Myanmar's military government has granted amnesty to 8,585 prisoners as a gesture to the United Nations and to celebrate progress on its long-awaited constitution, state media said Tuesday. It was unclear, however, if any of the prisoners released were among those detained when the junta cracked down on anti-government protests in September, sparking global outrage and a flurry of visits by U.N. officials. A dozen political prisoners were among those released, but none of them was detained in connection with the recent protests, said Nyan Win, a spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy.

BBC News

Burma's military government has said there is no role for the opposition in the drafting of a new constitution. The announcement comes despite international pressure for the regime to open up the process of reform and engage with other parties. At a rare press conference, Burmese Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said the military-appointed reform panel did not need outside help.

At the same time, while still being put at arms length, NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi was given a special award for lifetime achievement in politics by the Political Studies Association (PSA) of the UK last week.
Here's more coverage on the emerging political situation: